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Beauty Skincare

K-Beauty’s Rising Star Dr.Jart+ to Be Acquired By Estée Lauder

Peel off your sheet mask and pop some champagne: Estée Lauder announced on Monday its plan to acquire Have & Be Co. Ltd., the Korean company behind cult-favorite skincare brand Dr.Jart+. The move comes at the tail end of a year studded with acquisitions of high-profile beauty brands, including Drunk Elephant, DevaCurl, and Kylie Cosmetics

In recent years, Dr.Jart+ has burst onto the global skincare scene amid mounting K-Beauty hype, with influencers and consumers alike touting its innovative face masks and shelfie-ready creams. To understand the momentum behind the brand’s buzzy acquisition, and how it will impact Estée Lauder’s portfolio, let’s take a look at some of the strategies Dr.Jart+ used to power growth in Earned Media Value (EMV) and attain go-to status among key players in the beauty community.

An influencer wearing a white clay face mask holds his hands up next to a bottle of Dr.Jart+’s Dermaclear Trans-foram Clay.

Dr.Jart+ Drives Growth With Science-Based Philosophy 

Today’s skincare enthusiasts don’t just want a story about why a product works—they want evidence. With a brand name inspired by the phrase “Doctor Joins Art,” Dr.Jart+ has effectively churned out science-based skincare remedies in eye-catching, sometimes straight-up weird (read: baby faces on soda cups?), packaging that reflects the company’s commitment to creativity and innovation. And this philosophy has inspired a devout, growing following among online skincare gurus. In 2018, Dr. Jart+ boasted a community of 1,276 influencers—the largest among major Korean skincare brands—and collected $10.2M EMV. From January to October this year, Dr.Jart+ accrued $8.0M EMV.

One-Of-A-Kind Products Win Passionate Followings

From argan oil to CBD, anyone in the skincare world knows how quickly ingredients get trendy. Dr.Jart+ has steered solidly clear of the hype-cycle with complex skincare remedies you probably haven’t already seen on every other serum label. Take the Cicapair collection, inspired by the skin-soothing properties of Tiger Grass. Or the Ceramidin collection, which uses ceramides—waxy lipid molecules—to help the skin retain moisture. The brand’s road-less-traveled approach has paid off: the Cicapair collection powered $1.7M EMV from 193 influencers from January to October 2019 as Dr. Jart+’s No. 1 offering, scoring shout-outs from powerhouse beauty gurus like Karen Gonzalez (@iluvsarahii on Instagram) along with smaller-scale skincare bloggers like Matt Woodcox (@dirtyboysgetclean). Meanwhile, the Ceramidin collection ranked No. 2 with $797.6k EMV from 150 content creators.

A chart showing influencer community size for 5 top Korean skincare brands in 2018

K-Beauty Is Here to Stay 

Dr.Jart+’s success can be partly chalked up to the rise of K-Beauty, as more and more U.S. influencers are championing Korean brands’ science-forward approach to skincare. The EMV generated for Dr.Jart+ by mentions of #KBeauty has increased substantially over the past few years: the tag collected $123.1k EMV in 2017, $475.4k EMV in 2018, and $504.2k EMV from January to October 2019. Buzz around Korean skincare is partly the work of an expanding community of K-Beauty loyalists like Katherine (@skinfullofseoul on Instagram), as well as more traditional skincare bloggers eager to get in on the next major trend. 

Dr.Jart+’s clout in the K-Beauty space presents a particularly fruitful opportunity for Estée Lauder, as it will mark the conglomerate’s first acquisition in the Asia-Pacific market and allow it to capitalize on the recent increase in enthusiasm for both K-Beauty and skincare more broadly. 

Dr.Jart+ Makes Waves Overseas 

Dr.Jart+’s unique approach to skincare hasn’t just won over influencers stateside. The brand has seen a surge of interest from bloggers in the U.K., powering $1.5M EMV from January to October 2019—a 72% year-over-year growth—while its community of 126 content creators marked a 12% uptick. Dr.Jart+ also boasts a substantial following in France, where it generated $973.3k EMV via 124 influencers from January to October 2019.

Dr.Jart+’s Shake & Shot masks are arranged on a blue floor next to a pink wall.

There’s no question about it: skincare is in, and more and more up-and-coming brands are vying for influencers’—and investors’—attention than ever before. But even in a crowded market, Dr.Jart+’s innovative and unconventional products have set it ahead of the pack, and Tribe Dynamics is eager to see how the niche brand strengthens Estée Lauder’s portfolio. After all, who can look away from a baby face? 

To stay up-to-date with the latest developments in skincare from Tribe Dynamics, download the October Skincare Tribe Top 10 here.

VIEW OCTOBER SKINCARE TOP 10

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